Big Sur

ocean-832289_1920California condors tilt and wheel over twin-topped trees jutting toward the heavens, holding fast to the jagged-cliffed, fog-banked, sometimes-sunny but always stunning strip of Central California Coastline, namesake of a famed Kerouac novel written about the author’s stay here in a secluded cabin; troops of poppies and lupines dance along the windy black ribbon of  Highway 1-the sky seems closer here. This magnificent 90-mile stretch of steep ravines,  dramatic bridges, breathtaking seascapes, gorgeous hidden beaches strewn with treebones, pristine state parks riddled with trails and stunning watercolor vistas, at one time traversed by three nomadic Native American Tribes-remains an exclusive home and playground to fewer than 1,000 year-round residents-many high-profile.

Public beach and attraction access can be tricky-an adventure in itself, and at times, in demand; be sure to plan your group’s Big Sur exploration bearing this in mind. With the blue Pacific sparkling to the West and nature’s dramatically rugged and unspoiled handiwork all around, it is no surprise long-time residents hold fast to their stakes here! Relatively undeveloped and richly bio-diverse, the many climates of Big Sur are home to scores of rare-to-endangered species and a wide variety of native flora and fauna. Overnight visitors without sleeping bags will find here nothing less than the very best amenities-fabulous artisanal restaurants and gourmet cafes, intriguing local galleries and attractions and plush-to-luxurious accommodations -everything to afford one- or a dozen-a civilized, yet wild escape.